Tuesday, March 24, 2015

World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History: Research in Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society, Paris, May 29-30, 2015

The Policy Studies Organization is sponsoring the World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History: Research in Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, France, May 29-30, 2015. The conference will be held biennially in Paris, and hopes to open new doors while promoting multilingual and multicultural scholarship in areas such as, the relations between such Masonic-related subjects as the Companionnage, guilds, friendly societies, and Greek fraternities.

Convened by the journal Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society, in cooperation with the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, France, the first World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History: Research in Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society, focuses on the study of ritual, secrecy, and civil society vis-à-vis the dynamics of Masonic scholarship around the world. The conference explores how civil society, secrecy, and ritual have been important elements during different episodes of local and world histories, and indeed still are. The WCFFH 2015 is a part of the Policy Studies Organization's support of research into social capital, civility, and the role of non governmental organizations in democracy.

All papers accepted presented will be published by Westphalia Press in three collections: Vital Masonic Scholarship in the 21st CenturyNew Research in Secret Societies, and European Scholarship in Secrecy and Ritualism, and will be available in-print and electronically.

In order to make possible the attendance of all interested parties, the sponsors have agreed that there will be no registration fee for the 2015 conference and complimentary coffee and refreshments will be provided for those in attendanceThis owes much to the great support of the Bibliothèque Nationale in being such a generous host. One of the world's extraordinary libraries with a remarkable Masonic collection, it is well worth exploring while you are in Paris. And although there is no registration fee, it is imperative that all attendees and participants still register, so that we may facilitate the proper arrangements and accommodations. Early inquiry is appreciated in regards to special requests for hearing enhancement, physically challenged access, child care, or other potential needs of our guests. 

Register Here

Click here for more details of the Conference.



Committee on the Francken Documents: All Day Sessions at the Museum of Freemasonry, rue Cadet
A workshop organized by invitation, to view and analyze developments with the Francken Manuscripts and other eighteenth century original documents, will be held at the Museum of Freemasonry, rue Cadet, directly preceding the conference.The workshop will present and discuss a special exhibit of materials not previously on public display. Click here for more information and to reserve a spot... 
4:00 PM Thursday 4pm- Viewing and reception for the Francken Documents at the Museum of Freemasonry (http://www.freemasons-freemasonry.com/Francken-Manuscript.html)
*Thursday 8:30 PM The French premiere of "Golem", Théâtre des Abbesses, tickets available here. See the discussion, Grand Lodge of British Columbia and the Yukon athttp://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/pentagram/golem.html
*All Day Attraction, Early arrivals might consider the several hundred antiquarian bookshops and the unusual flea markets with various manuscripts and books. The Seine-side booksellers with their familiar green metal display cases will be open in force.http://goparis.about.com/od/shopping/tp/Best-Bookshops-In-Paris.htm
Day One: Friday- May 29, 2015- Taking Stock
9:00AM Coffee in the Foyer
9:30 - 10:00 AM Welcome- Grand Auditorium 
Guillermo De los Reyes, (Conference Chair), Jean-Loup Graton, (Bibliothèque Nationale), Pierre Mollier, (Editor- Ritual, Secrecy, and Civil Society)
10:00 - 10:45 AM Keynote Address- Grand Auditorium 
Margaret C. Jacob, Distinguished Professor of History, University California of Los Angeles- Civil Society in an Uncivil Age: An Agenda for Freemasonry, Past and Present
Introduced by: Paul J. Rich, President, Policy Studies Organization
10:45 - 11:30 AM Special Instrumental Presentation- http://mvmm.org
Special session chaired by: Charles Bonaparte
400 Years of Masonic Music- Special Instrumental Presentation
Mozart actually wrote for a unique instrument called the basset horn, absent from recitals of Masonic music for 200 years. Music historian, Gille Thorne, has restored the proper place of the basset and will share his adventures.
11:30-11:45 AM Coffee in the Foyer

11:45AM - 1:00 PM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One: Unresolved Historical Inquiries
John Belton and Count Alessandro Cagliostro, Problems in Masonic Bibliography
Samuel Biagetti, Freemasonry - The Missing Link Between Jacobitism and the American Revolution?
Zhenya Gershman, Rembrandt's Secret
Jeffrey Kantor, In the Footsteps of Freemasonry in the Holy Land King Solomon, the First Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and Masonic Sites in the Holy Land
Salon Two: French Resources on Fraternalism
Panel Session
Sylvie Bourel, François Rognon, Francis Delon, Françoise Moreillon, Pierre Mollier- Masonic Archives in France  (presented in French with translation)
Salon Three: Issues of Gender and Universalism
Chair and Commentator: David Merchant

Aimee E. Newell, American Female Makers of Masonic and Fraternal Regalia


Ineke Huysman, L'Ordre de l'Union de la Joye- A Women's Order in the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age


Joachim Berger, 'Universal freemasonry' and Transnational Masonic Movements (c. 1870–1930)
László Vári, The Curious Case of Helene Hadik-Barkóczy with the Freemasons

1:00 - 2:15 PM Break for Lunch 
Screening of the BBC's Inspector Morse, Masonic Mysteries, Season 4, Episode 4 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0611646/)
Moderator: Guillermo Izabal
2:15 - 3:00 PM Plenary Address
John Cooper, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of California, Past President of the North American Conference of Grand Masters- Into the Maelstrom: The Issue of Masonic Regularity, Past and Present

Chair: Guillermo De Los Reyes

Commentator: Alain Bauer
3:00 - 3:30 PM TBA
3:30 - 3:45 PM Coffee in the Foyer
3:45- 5:15 PM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One: Material Evidence of the Ethereal
Chair and Commentaor: Martin Kanter 
The Masonic Collections of the The Bibliothèque Nationale
François Gruson, The Masonic Temple Between Universal Model and Cultural Tropisms
Dominique Sappia and Herve Hoint-Lecoq, Jewels, Ornaments, Lights and Furnitures, a Historical and Statistical Study Through Time and Countries : Appearance of the Movable and Immovable Jewels (1696-1801)
Hilary Anderson Stelling, Commanding Elegance: The Decoration and Furnishing of Masonic Lodges in New England, 1790-1830
Salon Two: Ancient Ideas in the New World
Chair and Commentator: Terry McCammon

J. Scott Kenney, Contemporary Canadian Freemasonry: Social Dynamics and Possible Futures
Adam Kendall, Pilgrimage and Procession: The 1883 Knights Templar Triennial Conclave and the Dream of the American West
Olga Romero Mestas, Freemasonry, Secret Societies and Civil Society in Cuban Independence
Oscar Alleyne, A Contemporary Look at the Various Forms of Freemasonry among African-Americans in the United States
Salon Three: In Far Places
Emanuela Locci, The Impact of European Freemasonry on Turkish Civil Society
Demetrio Xoccato, A Masonic pretender to the Hungarian throne: François Claude Auguste de Crouy-Chanel
László Vári, Ferenc Pulszky's Masonic Periods
Martin Javor, Orpheus, Mährische Magazin and Prager Gelehrte Nachrichten – Masonry Magazines in Central Europe in the 18th Century
End Day One
*7:30 PM The Magic Flute, performed by the Paris Opera- Tickets with English notes available here 
Day Two: Saturday- May 30, 2015- Setting Agendas
9:00 AM Coffee in Foyer
9:30 - 10:15 AM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One: *Special Presentation 9:30- 11:15 AM* - Audutorium
Jean-Michel Mathonière,Savoirs et emblèmes du savoir chez les compagnons tailleurs de pierre à la fin de l'Ancien Régime / Compagnonnage: Knowledge and Symbols of Knowledge Among Stone Cutters at the End of the Ancien Régime
(Presented with English Translation) 
Chair: Margaret Jacobs
Salon Two: Lodge Quatour Coronati- Panel Session
Brent Morris, Gordon Davie, Yasha Beresiner, and John Belton- Masonic Research by Mason and Non-Masons: Can Ever the Twain Meet?
Salon Three: Roots and Branches
Marcus Patka, Austrian Freemasonry and Gunter Kodek
Joi Grieg, The Mystic Tie- Inclusionary and Exclusionary Language Usage in North America
Yasha Beresiner, Medieval Guilds of the City of London and their Later Influence on Freemasonry
Piroska Balogh, The Constitution and Operation of the Draskovics Observance
10:15 - 11: 15 AM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One*Special Presenation 9:30- 11:15 AM* - Auditorium
Jean-Michel Mathonière, Savoirs et emblèmes du savoir chez les compagnons tailleurs de pierre à la fin de l'Ancien Régime / Compagnonnage: Knowledge and Symbols of Knowledge Among Stone Cutters at the End of the Ancien Régime
(Presented with English Translation)
Chair: Margaret Jacobs
Salon Two: Fraternalism Midst Hostility and Challenge
Chair and Commentator: Guillermo Izabal, Royal Arch No. 2
Neil Wynes Morse, Some Masonic Activities in the Australian Military During WWI
David H. Lewis, Freemasonry Under the Nazis
Adam Kendall, Writing History with Lightning: American Nativism, the Ku Klux Klan & the Fraternal Press in the 1920s
Aslak Postad, Anti-masonic trends in Norway 1869 - 2015
Salon Three: Origins of Fraternal Wisdom
Chair and Commentator: Goncalo Amaral
Josef Wäges and Reinhard Markner, The Secret School of Wisdom: The Authentic Rituals and Doctrines of the Illuminati
Philip Carter, That Which Was Lost- The Third Pillar
Karen Kidd, Evolution of Co-Masonic Blue Lodge Ritual
David Merchant, A 19th Century Mexican Masonic Novel as a Vehicle of Liberalism
11:15 AM - 1:00 PM Salon Breakout Sessions 
Salon One: TBA
Salon Two: Brothers Abroad
Chair and Commentator: Guillermo De Los Reyes
Naama Klar, Freemasonry and the Roots of Liberal International Trade: The Enlightenment and the Transatlantic Network in the 18th Century
Brian Rountree, Prairie Charity: Masonic Benevolence in late Nineteenth Century Manitoba
Ralf Bernd Herden, The Grand-Duchy of Baden 1780-1820: State, Politics and Masonry
Lori Lee Oates, Edward Bulwer‐Lytton and the Globalization of Fringe Masonic Philosophies in the Nineteenth Century
Salon Three: 
Philip Ice, Wallace Boston, Karan Powell, Daniel Gutierrez-Sandoval, Paul Rich, Margaret Jacob and Count Alessandro Cagliostro- Taking the Conference to the World: Our Work and Teaching, Publishing, and Surviving the Internet Revolution: New Realities for Fraternal Studies
1:00 - 2:30 PM Break for Lunch Screening, the 1943 Nazi anti-Masonic movie, Forces Occultes (Hidden Froces), original uncut version, with English subtitles (http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/fiction/cinema.html)
Moderator: Guillermo Izabal
2:30 - 4:00 PM Salon Breakout Sessions
Salon One: Evolution of the Fraternal Metaphors
Chair and Commentator: Rex Kallembach
John Acaster, The Voyage from Corruption to Harmony: Fresh Insights Into the Inspiration of Noah and 'the primitive' Within Freemasonry
Klaus-Jürgen Grün, Development of Humanitarian Freemasonry since Anderson's Constitutions
Giulia Delogu, Reshaping Virtue: the Case of Eighteenth-Century French and Italian Masonic Poetry
Andreas Önnerfors, Unveiling the Copiale-manuscript: layers of fraternalism, ritual and politics in eighteenth century Germany
Salon Two: The Bordeaux Vintage

Panel Session

Roger Dachez, Louis Trébuchet, Jacques Simon, Pierre Mollier, The French Sources of the"Scottish" Degrees 
Salon Three: Masonic Biography
Chair and Commentator: Luis-Jose Meja
Simon Mayers, Dudley Wright: His Early 'Truth-Seeking' Years (1906-1916)
Casey D. Stanislaw, Santa Anna, the Mason
Maria Danova, The Master's Mask: Richard Wagner & Freemasonry
4:00 PM Closing Plenary Session
Brent Morris, Emperors, Princes, and the Francken Mysteries: What Paris Has Revealed- Report on the Conference Special Committee on the Francken Documents
End Day Two
6:00 PM Farewell Reception at the Museum of Freemasonry
7:30 PM Les Enfants du Paradis (Ballet l'Opera de national de Paris) exploring illusion and reality in the provocative production by Jose Martinez https://www.operadeparis.fr/en/saison-2014-2015/ballet/les-enfants-du-paradis-jose-martinez?genre=2
8:30 PM Music Festival, the famous music festival in the quarter Saint Germain will be at its height on Saturday evening: http://festivaljazzsaintgermainparis.com/the-festival/
Sunday- May 31, 2015
~~Informal walking tour of local Masonic sites and architecture led by François Gruson (details forthcoming)~~
A Sunday brunch will be hosted by Professors Guillermo de los Reyes and Paul Rich, for discussion and suggestions about the May 2017 World Conference on Fraternalism, Freemasonry, and History.  Contact Whitney Shepard if interested.
A self-guided tour of locations and curiosities from Dan Bown's novel, The Da Vinci Code is easily put together using the site http://www.da-vinci-code-paris.com
The Catacombs extend for more than 150 miles under Paris with much of fraternal and ritualistic interest. For the museum and tours see: http://www.catacombes.paris.fr/en/homepage-catacombs-official-website
Fortuitously, an antiquarian book and manuscript flea market, Le Marche du Livre Ancien, convenes Sundays at the Parc Georges Brassens, rue Brancion, 15th arr, Porte de Vanves metro, 9-6 pm. The adjacent park include interesting sculpture, a marionette theatre and a beekeeping school.

Monday, March 23, 2015

New History Channel Series About Knights Templar Is In Development

Actor Jeremy Renner is developing a new series for the History Channel about the Knights Templar. From UPI today:

LOS ANGELES, March 23 (UPI) -- Jeremy Renner will develop new series Knightfall for the History channel.
The 44-year-old actor and his production company, The Combine, have teamed with A+E Studios and Midnight Radio on the project. Renner will also executive produce with The Combine co-founder Don Handfield and author Richard Rayner.
Knightfall will be a scripted series about the events leading up to and following the persecution of the Knights of Templar. Hundreds of members of the Christian military organization were burned at the stake Friday the 13th in 1307, and the order was officially disbanded in 1312.
Renner previously produced and starred in Gary Webb biopic Kill the Messenger. The actor appeared in a first teaser for Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation over the weekend, and will return as Marvel superhero Hawkeye in Avengers: Age of Ultron come May 1.


Read more: http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/TV/2015/03/23/Jeremy-Renner-to-develop-Knights-of-Templar-drama-series/5501427134466/#ixzz3VEzhZxcI

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Robert Davis Speaking in Nashua, NH

Ancient York Lodge No. 89 in Nashua, New Hampshire is presenting the 4th Evening of Masonic Light on Saturday, April 18 at 4 PM.  The keynote speaker will be noted author, Worshipful Brother Robert G. Davis, and the event will also feature Brother Chris Murphy and Brother Rick Jones.

Robert Davis is a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason and the author of Understanding Manhood in America, and The Mason's Words: The History and Evolution of the American Masonic Ritual.

This will be a Special Master Mason Communication of the Lodge and an Agape Dinner will immediately follow the meeting.

Tickets are only $25 and are available to purchase on the Ancient York Lodge event link.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Brother Saves Another During Ceremony

Good job, Brother. Well done! From WWLP in Massachusetts:
EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – When a friend’s heart stopped beating during a Masonic initiation ceremony for both men at the Masonic Temple in East Longmeadow, Matt counted on all of his skill as an EMT and first responder to overcome the odds against saving his friend’s life.
“The percentile of people who come back is very low,” he explained. “Either they don’t come back at all or there’s some type of brain damage. because by the time you get to the person it’s too long. Usually when you’re able to get to the person in the first two minutes that’s the best chance of living.”
Fellow Mason Ken White is among those who nominated his Masonic brother as a Hometown Hero. “One brother helping another brother at the instant they became Masonic brothers. You look and see a man stretched out on the ground and your heart sinks,” he told 22News, “you’re very nervous, you’re praying for the man.”
Matt Gosselin advocates widespread CPR training at Masonic Temples throughout Western Massachusetts. As an EMT, he knows the value of being prepared. “Four hours out of your life, 40 bucks out of your life, and it might be your grandmother, your sister, your brother that goes down or your child.”
At the Mass Mutual Center on the morning of March 19th, the Western Massachusetts Red Cross will honor Matthew Gosselin and six other extraordinary individuals as 2015 Hometown Heroes.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

100 Man Meeting in Crestwood, MO


The brethren of Crestwood Anchor Lodge No. 443 in Crestwood, MO are planning a 100 Man Meeting for March 26th, 2015. This is a suburb of St. Louis.

Dinner begins at 6:30 PM and the lodge meeting begins at 7:30 PM. Bro. Mark Breckenridge will give a presentation on "Strength" for the night's education. The lodge will be opened on the First Degree, so EA's and FC's are most welcomed.

Interested brothers can visit their homepage at: http://crestwoodanchor443.org/  The Events tab of the homepage will open an expanded Google Calendar that Brothers can view.

Friday, March 13, 2015

"Complete" List of Secret Societies and Fraternal Organizations in the US

For researchers or the curious, here is a list of all fraternal organizations that have existed in the United States, by initials. In case you have found a medal or sword with unknown initials on it in grandpa's attic chest or on a tombstone.

Go here, Secret Society. Fraternal Organizations, Abbreviations, Slogans, Mottoes, a Complete List.

I'm not sure how complete it is. They list my favorite, the International Order of Hoo Hoo, but by a shortened name. It's official name is the International Concatenenated Order of Hoo Hoo, Incorporated. But interesting for collectors and geneologists.

New Publication From the Vatican Reinforces the Innocence of the Templars

UPDATE: Sorry, I didn't notice this was from 2007. I know the Grand Lodge of New York's library has one. It must have popped up on my Google News Alert because of Friday the 13th. I thought it was another document. My mistake.

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For Templar scholars, this is enormous news. From Reuters:


The Knights Templar, the medieval Christian military order accused of heresy and sexual misconduct, will soon be partly rehabilitated when the Vatican publishes trial documents it had closely guarded for 700 years.
A reproduction of the minutes of trials against the Templars, "'Processus Contra Templarios -- Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars'" is a massive work and much more than a book -- with a 5,900 euros ($8,333) price tag.
"This is a milestone because it is the first time that these documents are being released by the Vatican, which gives a stamp of authority to the entire project," said Professor Barbara Frale, a medievalist at the Vatican's Secret Archives.
"Nothing before this offered scholars original documents of the trials of the Templars," she told Reuters in a telephone interview ahead of the official presentation of the work on October 25.
The epic comes in a soft leather case that includes a large-format book including scholarly commentary, reproductions of original parchments in Latin, and -- to tantalize Templar buffs -- replicas of the wax seals used by 14th-century inquisitors.
Reuters was given an advance preview of the work, of which only 799 numbered copies have been made.
One parchment measuring about half a meter wide by some two meters long is so detailed that it includes reproductions of stains and imperfections seen on the originals.
Pope Benedict will be given the first set of the work, published by the Vatican Secret Archives in collaboration with Italy's Scrinium cultural foundation, which acted as curator and will have exclusive world distribution rights.
The Templars, whose full name was "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon", were founded in 1119 by knights sworn to protecting Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099.
They amassed enormous wealth and helped finance wars of some European monarchs. Legends of their hidden treasures, secret rituals and power have figured over the years in films and bestsellers such as "The Da Vinci Code".
The Knights have also been portrayed as guardians of the legendary Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper before his crucifixion.

The Vatican expects most copies of the work to be bought up by specialized libraries at top universities and by leading medieval scholars.

Read more here. With the dollar vs. Euro price at incredible lows, this lowers the price to just $6,252.58 today.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

E-books Go Out of Fashion As Book Sales Revive

From Time Magazine:

British book stores have good news for bibliophiles, reporting that more people have been buying physical books recently. What’s more, sales of e-readers have apparently slumped according to their reports. Waterstones, a U.K. book store chain which also sells Amazon’s Kindle, told the Financial Times that demand for the e-reader has all but disappeared.

The Crescent and the Compass by Angel Millar

Brother Angel Millar, author of the beautiful book Freemasonry: A History is coming out later this month with what looks like a fascinating study of Freemasonry and Islam. The Crescent and the Compass is the first book to explore the many connections between Muslim activists, Islamic spirituality, Freemasonry, and the Western spiritual underground, of the modern era. For more information, look at http://islam-freemasonry.com

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UPDATE on 3/15/2015: The book is now available for $39.95 on Amazon.com. Click here.

Spring Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge

The 2015 Spring session of the Pennsylvania Academy of Masonic Knowledge will be held March 21st, 2015 in the Deike Auditorium of the Masonic Cultural Center of the campus of Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, PA. Registration will open at 8:30AM and the program will begin at 9:30. Lunch, with a suggested donation of $10, will be served at noon with the program ending at 3:00PM. All Masons are invited to attend. Dress is coat and tie.

The day's program features:

Professor Kenneth Loiselle will speak on topics from his recently published book "Brotherly Love: Freemasonry and Male Friendship in Enlightenment France. Professor Loiselle PhD is an Associate Professor of history and international studies at Trinity Unoiversity in San Antonio, TX.

There has been a change in speakers. Replacing Brother George Braatz is Brother Rashied K. Sharrief-Al-Bey, Second Vice-President of the Philalethes Society. Brother Rashied is a Past Master of Cornerstone Lodge No. 37, M.W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge F&AM of New York.

Pre-registration is required. To preregister, send your name, Lodge number, and home zip code via email to: AMKSecretary@pagrandlodge.org

Sunday, March 08, 2015

London Masons Donate £2 million ($3 million) For Helicopter

London Freemasons have donated more than $3 million for a air ambulance helicopter for the city.

From the Harrow Times today:

London Air Ambulance said they have been “blown away” by a £2 million donation from the London Freemasons.The money will now provide a second emergency helicopter as a result form the ‘Your London, Your Helicopter’ campaign.Graham Hodgkin, CEO of London’s Air Ambulance, said “We are blown away by the generosity of London Freemasons which brings us significantly closer to our aim of having a second emergency medical helicopter up and running by this summer.“For many years, London Freemasons have been regular supporters of our work and we thank all those Freemasons across the Metropolitan area who will be working tirelessly to raise the two million pounds.”Metropolitan Grand Master Russell Race added: “Freemasons both in London and all over the country have been donating to Air Ambulances for many years. We at the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London are delighted, however, to have an opportunity to specifically assist in the provision of this vital second helicopter for London”.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Voltaire Collection

Two brethren have worked for over a year to design a line of Masonic jewelry - rings and cufflinks - called the Voltaire Collection. The pieces are quite beautiful, the prices reasonable, and 10% of the proceeds will be sent to charity. See it here http://www.voltairecollection.com

Sunday, March 01, 2015

London Freemasons

A generally fair minded article appeared about London Masons on the GetWestLondon website, written by Danya Bazaraa on February 20th. Read it here.

The United Grand Lodge of England is working hard to promote the fraternity in the historically hostile British press, and is generally doing a good job of it.

http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/news-opinion/exclusive-insight-uk-freemasonry-what-8658428?fb_ref=Default#ICID=sharebar_facebook

Grand Secretary of the GL of New Jersey Has Passed Away

It is with great sadness that I report that MW William L. Morris Jr., Past Grand Master and Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, and Past Master of Atlas Pythagoras Lodge Number 10 was called to the Celestial Lodge on High last night.

To quote Brother Mohamad Yatim in his Facebook post, "MW Morris was a great man and an outstanding Mason. He dedicated his life to the service of our fraternity and the brethren, and he will be sorely missed."

There are no details on funeral arrangements yet. Please keep his wife Betty in your thoughts and prayers.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Philly's temple Featured in NBC's "Allegiance"

The Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, home to the GL of PA, was prominently featured on the Allegiance, a new prime time show on NBC. The tour guide is Brother Danny Hinds, Superintendent of the Temple and Aide to the Grand Master.
Here's the link:


H/T Seth Anthony

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

UPDATED, SEE CORRECTIONS and APOLOGY: Prince Hall Lodge Running a Strip Club In Maryland

From the Maryland Gazette.net today. The Charles Datcher Masonic Lodge #15 of Washington D.C. is a lodge chartered by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington DC, but I've never heard of a regular lodge that offers up strippers as a recruitment tool. Their private club even has a Facebook page. There is something very wrong with this picture. This is the kind of stuff that got the Jesters in trouble, and besmirches the fraternity. The MWPHGLofWDC needs to come down hard on these guys.


A private club in Forestville providing nightly strip dancing performances as a “recruitment tool” for freemasons has been denied a permit for adult entertainment.The Prince George’s County Council, which sits as the District Council on zoning issues, upheld the zoning examiner’s denial of a special exemption permit for adult entertainment to Bazz and Crue, during its Monday meeting.Dennis Whitley III, attorney for Bazz and Crue, described the site at 7752-7754 Marlboro Pike in Forestville as a private lounge for freemasons and potential freemasons of Charles Datcher Masonic Lodge #15 of Washington D.C.,; however, county zoning officials say the site hosts nightly nude dancing and lap dancing.Bazz and Crue owners could not be reached for comment.Whitley described the adult entertainment that goes on at the site as a “recruitment tool” to draw in potential freemasons.“I believe the idea is to go to where the gentlemen are,” Whitley told the council.Whitley described the dancers as “independent contractors” who make their money through tips.Whitley said potential members must apply to become freemasons and pay $240 yearly membership dues, with a $20 minimum down payment.“You can visit once, and if it is something you are interested in, you can go on to pay the full $240. If it’s something you’re not interested in, you don’t have to pay the rest,” Whitley said.Whitley said membership is not automatic, but that individuals must demonstrate they are of “moral character” in their applications.“What is the nature of the moral character you have to demonstrate?” said Council Chairman Mel Franklin (D-Dist. 9) of Upper Marlboro.Whitley said he could not speak to the specific requirements.Whitley characterized the adult entertainment as one of many events that go on at the private club, saying it is also used for masonic rituals, gatherings and classes, and where adult entertainment also occurs.“They offer adult entertainment, but it is still a private club,” Whitley said. “If they offered opera, it would not make it an opera house.”Permits filed with the county when Bazz & Crue opened in 2001 describe it as a private lounge for members of Charles Datcher Masonic Lodge #15 of Washington D.C.The permits stated the site would be used for classes, gatherings, as a rest area for elderly members and other events, but did not mention adult entertainment.“It seems to me there was a misrepresentation as to what was going on at the club,” said Councilwoman Deni Taveras (D-Dist. 3) of Hyattsville. 
Douglas Edwards of Capitol Heights, president of the Coalition of Civic Associations of Central Prince George’s County, said he is also a freemason and has never heard of the recruitment tactics used by the club.
“I’m a 32nd degree mason, and when I heard about the $20 fee, I thought, masons are not recruited. They come of their own free will,” Edwards said.Edwards spoke out against the club being awarded an exemption.“We’re not going to enjoy having that in our community,” Edwards said.Zoning ordinances passed in 2009 prohibit adult entertainment in the area, but Whitley argued the club should be grandfathered in as a special exemption, as adult entertainment had been going on at the site since 2001.

H/T Bill Arnold

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UPDATE From the Prince George's County application to the zoning board Note the curious way the lodge is referred to in the application. I smell a rat:

Applicant’s Request

(7) The Applicant is seeking approval of S.E. 4717 to operate a Private Club with Adult Entertainment.  Members of a chapter of the Masons/Shriners located in Washington D.C. (the “Charles Datcher Lodge #15”, Free and Accepting Masons, Prince Hall) formed a separate nonprofit legal entity,  CD#15CL2001, Inc.,  to do various charitable deeds and to operate the instant Private Club for the members’ enjoyment. 
Applicant actually operates two Private Clubs – one at the subject property (d/b/a X4B) and one on Forestville Road in District Heights (d/b/a Bazz and Crue).[1]  Applicant has operated X4B since August 10, 2007, pursuant to a Use and Occupancy Permit that allows it to operate “a private club per 37380-2006”.  (Exhibit 7) 

(8) Applicant submitted copies of its Articles of Incorporation, tax records and Bylaws for inclusion in the record.  (Exhibits 12 pp. 41-47, 38, 42, 45, 50 and 51)  Applicant also submitted a “Programs & Services for X4B” flier explaining the Private Club’s interests and missions which include helping single mothers, providing drug prevention education, helping the homeless, and providing education to the adult entertainment industry workers.  (Exhibit 43)  Finally, a copy of the organization’s Trestleboard (similar to minutes) was provided.  (Exhibit 44)




[1] Bazz and Crue’s application for Adult Entertainment  -SE-4716-was denied by this Examiner.
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UPDATE
I received this note from the lodge on Facebook today, explaining the issue:


I read your article yesterday and think I even left a comment but long story short. The lodge has nothing to do with it. A member of the lodge who has been off the rolls for years owns the establishment. Pretty much he used a variation of the lodges name to obtain tax exempt status and during his failure to obtain a new permit tried to justify the purpose of his establishment. We are currently in the process of taking legal action to put a very strong end to this subject. Our lodge does not condone the use nor use this establishment as a recruiting tool.

In looking over the application for the zoning permit, printed above, you will see that it is made out by "Charles Datcher #15, Free and Accepting Masons, Prince Hall" which is no way I've ever heard of a PHA lodge referring to itself. So it appears that this whole incident has nothing to do with the very honorable Charles Darcher Lodge PHA, and I profusely apologize for the tempest in a teapot it caused. I am deeply sorry for the pain it caused to the brethren of the lodge, and for the upset it may have caused in the halls of the Grand Lodge. I was simply reporting what came over the news service, which can always be suspect. CLH